Category: News



HARTFORD AND EAST HARTFORD, CONN (June 7, 2017) – The communities of Hartford and East Hartford, led by The Hartford/East Hartford Innovation Places Planning Team, have been selected as an Innovation Place, announced yesterday afternoon by the CTNext Board of Directors.  The Hartford/East Hartford Initiative will receive up to $2 million in Implementation Grant funds in fiscal year 2018 to begin implementing the team’s vision for making Hartford and East Hartford a hub for innovation, entrepreneurship, and business growth.


The selection of The Hartford/East Hartford Initiative concludes a process that began last summer and culminated last month with a site visit and pitch.


“With a strong presence in the insurance, healthcare and aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries, Hartford/East Hartford is already one of the State’s – and the region’s – strongest economic center points,” said Glendowlyn Thames, Executive Director of CTNext.  “As a designated Innovation Place, we are excited to see the impressive leadership team bring together its existing resources and assets, many of which have been underutilized to this point, and take the Hartford/East Hartford communities to the next level.”


Innovation Places is a CTNext-run program created to help the state’s communities become centers for entrepreneurship and innovation, magnets for talent, and launching points for growth-stage companies.  The program will distribute $6.9 million in fiscal year 2018 to selected Innovation Places communities to support implementation of their strategic plans.


Senator John Fonfara (D-Hartford), who was instrumental in designing a comprehensive law to help Connecticut embrace the innovation economy, joined other leaders in applauding the decision by CTNext to invest in the Hartford area.


“I’d like to congratulate the core team that made this happen, in particular Michelle Cote of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation,” Sen. Fonfara said.


“I am incredibly grateful to the dozens of entrepreneurs, education and business leaders, and city staff who developed a powerful vision for Hartford and East Hartford as a hub of innovation,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.  “Our proposal focused on Greater Hartford’s strengths in the insurance, aerospace, and medical technology fields, and this is exactly the kind of effort that will change the game for our region and for the state.  The entire Hartford-East Hartford Innovation Places team should be proud of their winning proposal, and I look forward to working together, in partnership with CTNext, to make the Greater Hartford region a truly vibrant ecosystem of innovation.”


“We are very excited to partner with Hartford on this regional initiative which will further strengthen our communities as a hub for innovation and growth,” said East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc.  “Together our communities provide many benefits to innovators and entrepreneurs looking for a central location at the crossroads of New England with easy access to collaborative partnerships with first class universities, other pioneering businesses, and established manufacturing and research centers of excellence.”


“It has been remarkable for me to watch our community come together in service of creating the right conditions for entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive, and attract top talent to our community,” said Michelle Cote, Managing Director of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at UConn.  “We have received commitments and investments from both Hartford and East Hartford, as well as the community’s anchor companies, educational institutions, and civic organizations. The strength of our strategy comes from cooperation, coordination, and collaboration in pursuit of a shared goal.”


A summary of The Hartford/E. Hartford Initiative’s proposal and application is available on the CTNext website at more information, please contact Michelle Cote, at


The Hartford/East Hartford Innovation Places Planning Team includes leaders from the following organizations: UConn, Goodwin College, Trinity College, University of Hartford, Metro Hartford Alliance, Travelers, The Hartford, Phoenix, Hanover Group, CIGNA, XL Catlin, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Hartford Healthcare, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, City of Hartford, Town of East Hartford, reSET, Connecticut Small Business Development Center, Upward Hartford, MakerspaceCT and several entrepreneurs.


Each of these community stakeholders will play a role in the execution of the group’s strategy, and in making Hartford and East Hartford visible centers of entrepreneurship and innovation.


About CTNext


CTNext is Connecticut’s go-to resource for entrepreneurial support.  The goal of the program is to build a more robust community of entrepreneurs and to accelerate startup growth by providing access to talent, space, industry expertise, services, skill development and capital to foster innovation and create jobs for people in Connecticut. CTNext launched in 2012 and has more than 1,700 members in its network.  Visit for more information.





Devra and Bryan sat down for an interview on The Talk of Connecticut. They updated Brad Davis and Dan Lovallo on the progress being made this year to launch MakerspaceCT. Listen to this interview to learn more about the new headquarters for the #makermovement in Connecticut, coming in 2017!

[Hartford Business Journal] An Avon couple hopes to kick Connecticut’s burgeoning “makerspace” movement up a few notches, and they may have the funding to do it.

Bryan Patton and his wife Devra Sisitsky, co-founders of an effort to build in Hartford what would be the state’s largest makerspace, said they’ve raised approximately $1.3 million and are aiming to double that amount in the months ahead to get the space up and running.

Patton owns a home construction business and has been a self-described hobbyist and tinkerer for much of his life. Sisitsky has started several companies over the years and worked in health insurance and consulting.

Makerspace is a broad term that generally describes a communal space where a group of collaborators or “makers” work on projects in a variety of mediums, from woodworking and metalworking to computer coding and electronics. Connecticut has at least six makerspaces — including one already in Hartford — stretching from New London to Norwalk, and advocates say they could boost Connecticut’s innovation economy and talent pool.

Patton and Sisitsky are working to open their makerspace at the Colt Armory complex, though they have not yet signed a lease.

They’re hoping to make a funding announcement for their proposed MakerSpace CT at a Nov. 17 maker conference they’ve helped organize at the University of Hartford. The conference has booked Dale Dougherty, who founded MAKE: Magazine and licenses the “maker faire” brand to events around the country.

The couple hopes the summit will build buzz for MakerSpace CT and also attract the attention of Connecticut officials and potential sponsors/investors.

Read the full article at:

Article originally published SEPTEMBER 12, 2016, Copyright New England Business Media

nems_makerspace_founders[Innovation Destination Hartford] Devra Sisitsky and Bryan Patton are on a mission to enhance the maker movement in Connecticut. They recently co-founded MakerspaceCT, which they plan to open in the spring of 2017.

MakerspaceCT defines a makerspace as a “community center with tools” adding that makerspaces combine manufacturing equipment, community, and education to enable community members to design, prototype, and create manufactured works they wouldn’t be able to create on their own.

“We look forward to supporting this initiative,” said Glendowlyn Thames, Director, Small Business Innovation Group at Connecticut Innovations, speaking at the New England Maker Summit, an event co-sponsored by MakerspaceCT that took place November 17 at the University of Hartford.

Sisitsky and Patton plan for MakerspaceCT to be a community resource open to the public that will offer training on many types of equipment and tools for innovators to make or manufacture prototypes, hobbyist, or artistic projects.

Several existing Connecticut maker and hacker spaces exhibited at the New England Maker Summit November 17, including Hartford innovator Balam Soto, Founder and Lead Creative Mind at Open Wire Lab.

Read the full article:

Article originally published December 08 2016: Copyright ©Innovation Destination: Hartford

The headquarters for the Maker Movement in Connecticut. Coming in 2018!

MakerspaceCT is a program of McEIVR, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

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